How to Get Ink Stains out of Denim: 6 Methods

Have you ever stained your jeans or other denim clothing with ink? Here are six tried and true ways to get ink stains out of denim.

Ink stain and ball point pen on denim

Ink stains on denim are a nightmare for anyone who loves their favorite pair of jeans. A simple accident can ruin the look of your denim and leave you feeling frustrated about the stain’s permanence.

But there’s no need to toss out your beloved jeans just yet. These tested techniques will remove those stubborn ink stains without damaging the fabric of your denim. 

The Dreaded Ink Stain

There are few things more frustrating than discovering an ink stain on your favorite pair of denim jeans. Ink stains can be stubborn, and if left untreated, they can become permanent. However, don’t despair just yet as there are several effective methods to remove ink stains from denim.

The key to successfully removing ink stains is to act quickly and avoid using heat on the stain. Heat can set the stain in the fabric, making it much harder to remove. As soon as you notice the stain, take action and try one of the following techniques.

Assess the Damage

Before you begin the process of removing an ink stain from your favorite denim, it’s important to assess the extent of the damage. Check to see how large and deep the ink stain is, as well as what type of ink has been spilled. The type of ink used can make a significant difference in how you approach removing the stain.

If the ink is fresh and still wet, use a clean cloth to blot up as much as possible without spreading it further. If it’s already dried, gently scrape off any excess ink flakes with a plastic knife or spoon. Avoid using sharp tools that can damage the fabric.

Test Your Ink Stain Removal Method

Remember to always test the method on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to avoid any potential damage. 

1. Use Dish Soap to Remove Ink Stains

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to remove ink stains from denim, the dish soap method might just do the trick. It’s the one I’ve had the most success with.

To start, wet the stained area of your denim garment with cold water. Then, apply a small amount of liquid dish soap directly onto the ink stain.

Use your fingers or a soft-bristled brush to gently work the soap into the fabric. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage or fade the denim.

2. Vinegar for Removing Ballpoint Ink Stains

When it comes to removing ink stains from denim, vinegar also happens to be a powerful solution. This method works best for light-colored denim as vinegar can also act as a natural bleach.

To use this technique, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a bowl. Soak the stained area of your denim garment in the solution for at least an hour, or overnight for more stubborn stains.

Once soaked, rinse the area with cold water and wash the garment as usual. The acidity of the vinegar helps to break down and dissolve the ink particles, making it easier to remove from your denim.

Keep in mind that vinegar has a strong smell which may linger on your clothes even after washing. Adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender or peppermint can help mask the smell and leave your denim smelling fresh.

3. Rubbing Alcohol for Removing Felt-Tip Marker Stains

When it comes to removing ink stains from denim, rubbing alcohol can be a lifesaver. Not only is it effective, but it’s also readily available in most households. Here’s how to use the rubbing alcohol technique:

First, you’ll want to test a small, inconspicuous area of your denim to ensure that the rubbing alcohol won’t cause any discoloration or damage. Once you’ve determined that it’s safe to proceed, place a clean cloth or paper towel underneath the stained area of your denim.

Next, soak a cotton ball or swab in rubbing alcohol and gently dab the stain. Be careful not to rub too hard as this can spread the ink further into the fabric. Continue dabbing until the stain fades or disappears completely.

You may need to repeat this process several times depending on the severity of the stain. Once you’ve removed as much of the ink as possible using rubbing alcohol, be sure to wash your denim in cold water with laundry detergent before drying.

The rubbing alcohol technique is an effective way to remove stubborn ink stains from your favorite pair of jeans without having to resort to expensive professional cleaning services.

4. Lemon Juice Ink Stain Removal

If you are looking for a natural and effective way to remove ink stains from your denim, the lemon juice hack might be just what you need. Lemons are a great source of citric acid, which can break down the ink particles and help lift them from the fabric. Plus, it is safe to use on most denim fabrics and won’t harm the environment.

To use this method, start by cutting a lemon in half and squeezing some juice onto the stain. Then, rub the juice into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. Repeat as necessary until the stain is completely gone.

This hack not only removes ink stains but also leaves your denim smelling fresh and citrusy. It’s a win-win situation! Just be sure to test this method on an inconspicuous area of your denim first to ensure that it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.

5. The Baking Soda Paste

If you’ve ever used baking soda in cleaning, you know it’s a miracle worker. Not only is it an excellent ingredient for baking goods, but it can also be used to create a powerful paste that can tackle even the most stubborn of ink stains.

To make the baking soda paste, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with enough water to make a thick, spreadable paste. Using a clean cloth or sponge, apply the paste directly to the ink stain and gently rub it in. Be sure to cover the entire stain with the paste.

Leave the paste on the stain for at least 30 minutes or until it has completely dried. Then, use a clean damp cloth to remove the baking soda mixture from your denim garment and wash as usual. You may need to repeat this process several times until all of the ink has been lifted from your denim.

Not only will your denim be free from ink stains after using this method, but it will also smell fresh and clean due to the natural odor-absorbing properties of baking soda!

6. The Salt and Lemon Method

Another method that works wonders on ink stains is the salt and lemon method. This technique involves using salt to absorb the ink and lemon juice to break down the stain. This method is particularly useful for older, set-in stains.

To start, pour a generous amount of table salt onto the stain, making sure to cover it completely. Then, cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto the salt. Rub the mixture gently into the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush.

Allow this solution to sit on your denim for at least an hour before washing it with cool water in your washing machine. Once washed, check if there are any remnants of ink left behind; if so, repeat this process until all traces of ink have been eliminated.

The best part about this method is that it leaves a fresh lemon scent on your denim after washing it. So not only will you get rid of stubborn ink stains, but you’ll also refresh your favorite pair of jeans!

Wash and Dry

Once you have treated the ink stain on your denim, it’s time to wash and dry your garment. Always read the care label before washing to ensure that you are following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the label indicates that it is safe to machine wash, turn your denim inside out and wash it in cold water with a mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softeners as they can leave residues on your clothing that can attract stains. Additionally, do not mix dark denim with light-colored garments as this can cause dye transfer.

After washing, hang your denim up to dry or lay it flat on a clean surface. Do not put it in the dryer until you are sure that all of the ink stain has been removed. Putting a stained garment in the dryer can set the stain permanently.

Removing an ink stain from denim is not always an easy task, but with patience and persistence, you can save your favorite jeans or jacket from being ruined by pesky marks. Follow these tips and tricks for successful ink stain removal and keep your wardrobe looking its best.

Celebrate Your Clean Denim

Removing ink stains from denim isn’t the easiest thing to do, but these techniques will help you out. With a little patience and persistence, you can say goodbye to those stubborn ink stains and enjoy your clean jeans once again!